State school bond passage a boost to Tahoe-Truckee efforts | SierraSun.com
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State school bond passage a boost to Tahoe-Truckee efforts

Sierra Sun News Service

The passage of a $9 billion statewide school bond could be the icing on the cake if Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District facility bonds are passed March 2.

The school district is asking voters in North Tahoe to pass a $24 million school bond for lakeside schools and voters in Truckee to pass a $35 million bond for Truckee schools.

That bond money can be used to provide the local match necessary to receive the new state funding.

“Local districts must find the funds to provide the local match to receive the new state monies. Without a bond measure, the lakeside students will not receive their fair share of the new state funding,” said TTUSD superintendent Pat Gemma.

TTUSD Director of Facilities John Britto said that $6 billion of the state bond is for kindergarten through 12th grades and $3 billion is for higher education.

Some of the rules for the state money have been changed with the new bond. Now schools are eligible for the money if they are 25 years old, instead of 30 years old. Also, the historic section of Tahoe Lake School might now be eligible for state money – before, the state would not fund buildings over 50 years old, he said.

The match is also increased. Previous state bonds gave 50 percent of a project cost, now it will give up to 80 percent.

“That money is going to go fast,” Britto said, saying there is an urgency to submit applications and design plans to the state.

He said the school district will submit plans that can be done even if the local bond does not pass. However, what can be accomplished with the state money is limited. “There are only certain projects that they will fund,” he said.

The state money would not fund many of the projects on the lakeside bond, not even basic things like a new heating, air conditioning and ventilation system for North Tahoe High School and North Tahoe Middle School, he said.

New construction such as a performing arts center or a new gymnasium would not be covered either, he said.

Essentially, state money “will help us do a nicer project” being built with the lakeside bond money, he said.

If passed on March 2, Measure R, the lakeside bond, will be spent to upgrade lakeside schools.

“Every one of our lakeside schools is at least 26 years old and are desperately in need of modernization,” said Nanci Davis, Measure R volunteer. “We have identified the specific projects to be funded through a very public process.”

Although the name of Truckee’s bond has not been legally defined, boardmember Suzanne Prouty said the direction of Measure “C,” is.

Projects listed under the $35 million bond include:

Building a middle school facility that could house 900 to 1,100 students.

Converting Sierra Mountain Middle School back to an elementary school to address the changing demographics in Truckee.

Enlarging the core facility at Truckee Elementary School.

Modifying the three existing elementary schools and redistributing the students throughout the district to better accommodate the district’s housing needs.

Tending to deferred maintenance projects at Truckee’s schools and implementing modernization projects to update the facilities.

The projects included in the Measure R bond are:

North Tahoe Middle School/North Tahoe High School, built in 1972 – replacement of the heating/ventilation systems, renovations to lighting, flooring, bathrooms, wiring for technology, new gymnasium, new performing arts facility, library/computer technology center.

Kings Beach Elementary School, built in 1957 – final phase of modernization (flooring, lighting, roofing and heating), construction of a community multi-use facility.

Tahoe Lake Elementary School, built in 1934 – final phase of modernization, flooring, lighting, new heating system, upgraded utility service and roofing.

Rideout Elementary, built in 1971 – renovation of heating/ventilation system, roofing, internal modifications and additional wiring for computer network.

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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